March 2017

Governor Wolf has proposed merging four state agencies into one, but Senator Schwank says she and her colleagues have lots of questions about the proposal.

Senator Schwank says the state Senate has passed a supplemental funding bill for the Department of Labor, providing funding to bring back enough workers to get the unemployment department somewhat back up to speed after last December’s layoffs.  But she says there’s more to do.

February 2017

There are thousands of African-American citizens from Pennsylvania who have made a difference, large and small, both here in the Commonwealth and in the United States. Senator Schwank recognizes their accomplishments during Black History Month.

Senator Schwank says  Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 budget invests in jobs and working families and is a good fiscal blueprint to begin budget deliberations.  The $32.3 billion budget plan eliminates a $3 billion deficit while making $2 billion in budget cuts and a 1.8 percent increase in spending, all without a broad-based tax increase. The budget plan also calls for an additional $100 million in basic education, $75 million for high-quality early education and $25 million for special education.

Postpartum depression can adversely affect mothers and their babies.  That’s why Senator Schwank is co-sponsoring legislation to make sure mothers of newborns are screened for the illness.

Senator Schwank and her fellow Senate Democrats are asking Governor Wolf to call a special session of the General Assembly to focus on reforming or eliminating property taxes.

January 2017

Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Schwank presents a Resolution marking January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Pennsylvania Moment: Winter weather can cause hazards and delays for drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Senator Schwank advises you to be prepared by checking Turnpike conditions before you head out.

The 101st Pennsylvania Farm Show celebrates farm life and highlights one of the state’s biggest industries, agriculture. But Senator Schwank, who’s Democratic Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, says the Farm Show can still hold some surprises.

The 201st session of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is underway, and Senator Schwank has taken her oath of office to begin another four-year term.  Here the Senator talks about what she’d like to see accomplished in this new session.

December 2016

Senator Schwank says moving the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, out of the state Insurance Department and into the Department of Human Services one year ago has been good for the kids and families that use CHIP.

Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Schwank suggests making a donation to your local food bank as one way to make this a happy holiday season for all.

November 2016

The current session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly ends November 30th. Senator Schwank looks back on legislation passed during this session that she thinks is most meaningful, and looks ahead to legislation she’d like to see enacted in the next session that starts in January of 2017.

Pennsylvania Moment: Registration has opened for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Senator Schwank says the LIHEAP program is designed to help low-income Pennsylvanians pay for heat this winter and get needed repairs to furnaces and other heating equipment.

October 2016

The month of October is set aside to increase awareness about Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence.  Senator Schwank has information on both topics.

As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month,  Senator Schwank was among the lawmakers who gathered with activists in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg for a ceremony remembering Pennsylvania’s victims of domestic violence.

September 2016

Senator Schwank’s Resolution naming September as National Recovery Month passed unanimously in the Senate

Pennsylvania Moment: The deadline to register to vote in this November’s Presidential election is October 11th. Senator Schwank reminds state residents that they can now register online to vote (

August 2016

In a rare August session in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Senate has unanimously approved Bruce Beemer as the new Pennsylvania Attorney General replacing former Attorney General Kathleen Kane who resigned after being convicted on perjury and other charges.  In remarks on the Senate Floor, Senator Judy Schwank says Attorney General Beemer needs to address the pornographic and offensive emails that circulated throughout the attorney general’s office, and he must do it quickly to restore confidence in the attorney general’s office and the justice system.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank who says the email scandal is a festering wound that must be healed.

August 7-13th is National Farmers Market Week across the country and here in Pennsylvania.  Senator Schwank says Farmers Markets deliver more than just fresh produce to their communities. Here’s an interview with Senator Schwank recorded as she visited the Penn Street Farmers Market in downtown Reading to present a Senate citation marking Farmers Market Week and commending the Penn Street Market, which started on the site in 1776.

Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Schwank reminds drivers to watch out for highway workers, police and emergency personnel who may be on the shoulder of the road.

July 2016

Pennsylvania Moment:  Lyme disease has been found in all 67 Pennsylvania counties. Senator Schwank has some simple tips to help everyone avoid Lyme disease this summer, as well as the West Nile and Zika viruses carried by mosquitoes.

June 2016

Senator Schwank was happy to see the Senate pass House Bill 967, legislation that will set up a pilot program in Pennsylvania to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp, a staple crop in the state for hundreds of years.  Here are her comments on the floor of the Senate just prior to the unanimous approval

A group of state lawmakers say this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a Texas abortion law should prompt the Pennsylvania State Legislature to repeal a law passed five years ago that imposes stricter regulations on abortion clinics.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank, Vice-Chair of the state legislature’s Womens’ Health Caucus.

Senator Schwank says the budget passed by the Senate on a 47-3 vote is a responsible, bi-partisan bill that provides necessary funding for education and human service agencies.

The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution recognizing the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Farm Credit System and commending the farmer-owners and the employees of the Farm Credit System, including AgChoice Farm Credit and MidAtlantic Farm Credit, for their continuing service in meeting the credit, financial services and educational programming needs of rural communities and agriculture in the commonwealth.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank, sponsor of the resolution, and the Democratic Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture & Rural Affairs.

Pennsylvania Moment:  With summer coming, more bicycles will be on Pennsylvania roadways. Senator Schwank has safety tips for motorists and bicyclists on how to share the road.

Public health officials say the odds of Pennsylvania facing a major outbreak of the Zika virus are slim at best.  Nevertheless, Senator Schwank says they are taking precautions.

Legislation that would require the POW-MIA flag to be flown on state buildings and grounds is one step closer to becoming law following a unanimous vote this week by the Senate State Government Committee.  Senate Bill 1157 is sponsored by Senator Schwank who made these comments at the committee hearing.

With incidents of sexual assault on the campuses of Baylor and Stanford Universities making news, Senator Schwank appeared at a press conference with Governor Tom Wolf and Jay Wright, head coach of the NCAA National Men’s Basketball Championship Villanova team, to discuss the importance of combating sexual assault on college campuses. “It’s On Us PA” is a statewide campaign that invites everyone to play a role in ending sexual assault.  Pennsylvania was the first state in the nation to launch the “It’s On Us” campaign, and Villanova was one of the first colleges to sign on to the campaign.

State lawmakers joined the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council today at the State Capitol to celebrate Hemp History Week in Pennsylvania, and to urge the state legislature to approve a bill that would legalize the growing and processing of hemp in Pennsylvania.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank whose Senate-passed legislation to legalize hemp is now before the House of Representatives for consideration.

May 2016

With drug overdose deaths reaching epidemic levels, state Senate Democrats today unveiled legislation in Harrisburg to address the opioid addiction crisis in Pennsylvania from prevention through recovery.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank who spoke at the State Capitol news conference on a package of bills that calls for, among other things, emergency addiction treatment programs for drug users currently going without care and a school-aged children opioid and heroin awareness education program.

Sparked by the death of a Berks County mom who died after being imprisoned for her child’s delinquent truancy fines, the Pennsylvania Senate has approved legislation that would protect parents from this kind of punishment.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank who spoke in support of the measure which now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Dignitaries joined with survivors of the Holocaust and their families at the Capitol in Harrisburg to honor, remember, and pledge “Never Again.”  Here are Senator Schwank’s remarks from the ceremony.

Pennsylvania Moment: May 30th is Memorial Day, and May 21st is Armed Forces Day. Senator Schwank says veterans, their families and survivors should check and make sure they are receiving all of the benefits to which they’re entitled.

Pennsylvania Moment: May is national Pet Month. Senator Schwank says one of the best things you can do for your dog is get a license.

April 2016

The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution proclaiming the week of May 2 through May 8 as “Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust” in Pennsylvania.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank who says her resolution is intended to remember the victims of the Holocaust and reflect on a history we hope never to repeat.

April is SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH in Pennsylvania. Senator Schwank says there’s a statewide campaign, “It’s On Us, Pennsylvania,” designed to call attention to and stop sexual assault, especially on college campuses.

April is AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH  in Pennsylvania.  Senator Schwank says state law requires insurance coverage for autism treatment, and there’s a website listing the services offered to help those with autism.

A statewide drug addiction study proposed by Senator Schwank has been ordered by the Pennsylvania Senate.  The state Senate voted unanimously to approve Senate Resolution 267 which authorizes the Joint State Government Commission to find better ways to address drug addiction and treatment.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank who spoke on the Senate Floor on why the study is important and necessary.

March 2016

The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution designating Wednesday, March 30, as “Female Veterans Recognition Day” in Pennsylvania.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank, who says her resolution is intended to encourage all Pennsylvanians to join in recognizing, appreciating and saluting the service and sacrifices of more than 71,000 female veterans who live in the Commonwealth.

With a growing chorus of evidence indicating a worsening statewide lead problem, Senator Schwank and her fellow Senate Democrats have joined with state health officials to offer legislation designed to better protect children and their families.

Senator Schwank is renewing her efforts for judicial reform in Pennsylvania as a result of the recent email scandals that forced two state supreme court justices to resign.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank who held a news conference today on her legislation in front of the Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg.

The Pennsylvania Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would return Hemp as a legal, cash crop in Pennsylvania.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, and sponsor of the legislation.

Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Schwank says one of the best ways for people to help their communities is to volunteer as a firefighter or emergency responder.

Senator Schwank today commended Gov. Wolf for signing an Executive Order that increases the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.15 an hour for state workers and employees of businesses that are awarded future state contracts.

February 2016

The Pennsylvania Senate has failed to approve a Senate Resolution that would have directed Gov. Wolf to remove Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office under section 7 of Article VI of the Pennsylvania Constitution.  A two-thirds vote of the Senate was needed to adopt the resolution but it fell four votes short.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank, a member of the bipartisan Special Committee on Senate Address, who opposed the resolution.

Pennsylvania Moment: Time for parents and students to begin the process of applying for college loans and grants.  Senator Schwank says Pennsylvania’s Higher Education Assistance Agency can help.

Hundreds of students, alumni and faculty rallied at the State Capitol on Monday (February 8) in support of increased state funding for Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank, a member of the state system’s Board of Governors, who spoke at the rally.

January 2016

The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution that observes the week of January 31 through February 6 as Pennsylvania Young Farmers Association Week in Pennsylvania.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank, sponsor of the resolution, and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.

Legislation that would give voters a chance to downsize the Pennsylvania State Legislature has cleared a state Senate committee and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank, a strong supporter of the legislation, and a member of the Senate State Government Committee.

Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Schwank says Pennsylvanians who need health insurance have a new affordable option: the Health Choices program.

The 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show, the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, begins Saturday, January 9th, in Harrisburg.  Here’s more with Senator Schwank, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.